A private company has an audacious plan to rescue NASAs last Great Observatory

News Summary

  • So its operators switched to "warm mission" mode, taking data from two of its shortwave channels.The space telescope continued operating until about three years ago, when the spacecraft began to overheat whenever it needed to point back toward Earth for communications.
  • "When it comes to robotic space servicing, this would be the most ambitious thing ever done," said Shawn Usman, an astrophysicist who is the founder and chief executive of Rhea Space Activity, in an interview with Ars.
  • Eric Berger - May 15, 2023 1:01 pm UTC A Delta II rocket launched the Spitzer Space Telescope two decades ago, boosting it to an Earth-trailing orbit, where it drifted away from our planet at a rate of about 15 million kilometers a year.
  • It was the last of NASA's four "Great Observatories" put into space from 1990 to 2003.Over its planned five-year lifetime, the infrared space telescope performed its job well, helping astronomers discover newly forming stars, observe exoplanets, and study galaxies.
  • This would allow scientists to restart observations.Rhea Space Activity, which is named after the Greek goddess and presently has fewer than 10 employees, is seeking a larger grant from the military and, ultimately, full funding for a mission expected to cost about $350 million.
  • Billionaire Jared Issacman is working with SpaceX and NASA to use a Crew Dragon vehicle to extend the life of the Hubble Space Telescope.The autonomous satellite technology developed by Rhea Space could have multiple applications for moving and servicing satellites in low-Earth and geostationary orbit.
Enlarge/ An artists conception of NASAs Spitzer Space Telescope in deep space.0 with A Delta II rocket launched the Spitzer Space Telescope two decades ago, boosting it to an Earthtrailing orbi [+5189 chars]